PassageMaker

How Long Will My Engine Last?

At our diesel engine classes at TrawlerFest, the question of engine longevity always comes up. This question also plays a key part in most conversations about buying a used boat. And while there is never a definitive answer, there are several factors that contribute to how long an engine runs and several things you can do to prolong the life of your engine.

Engine life can be defined as “time between overhaul” (TBO). Every engine manufacturer calculates a designed engine life, but only sometimes is this information available to the public. The life of an engine can be projected in three ways: gallons of fuel burned, hours operated, or years of operation. A given engine, for example, might be expected to run for 50,000 gallons of fuel, 10,000 hours, or 20 years. Years matter only because of the availability of replacement parts and general deterioration due to constant exposure to moisture.

QUANTIFYING A HARD LIFE

If you want to take a stab at the life expectancy of your engine, you can start by comparing your situation to the conditions anticipated by the manufacturer. Engineers must design an engine with a particular service life in mind.

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